The Pittsburgh Penguins will be without defenceman John Marino for a period of time. The 22-year-old has suffered a broken cheekbone that will require surgery. This is a surprise since Marino skated over 19 minutes in a recent loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning. Beat reporter Dejan Kovacevic broke the news early Friday afternoon.
Just got some NOT good news on John Marino. Per source close to the player, his cheekbone's been deemed to be broken in three places and will require surgery. A surprise to everyone. More to come on the site. #DKPS #Penguins #LetsGoPens #FlaPanthers #PITvsFLA
— Dejan Kovacevic (@Dejan_Kovacevic) February 7, 2020
John Marino to Have Surgery on Face
Pittsburgh acquired the former sixth-round pick this past summer in exchange for a sixth-round pick in the 2021 Draft. The team already had an experienced group of defenders built around Kris Letang but Marino has provided an added boost to the blueline. He has five goals and 25 points in 51 games as a true NHL rookie. His scoring ranks second behind only Letang among Penguin defenders.
Marino is obviously still very young but seems well-equipped to handle the NHL game. He has a respectable 51 percent Corsi For. That is perfectly fine for a player who jumped from Harvard straight to the pros. He isn’t playing much on the power play but has plenty of room to grow into a quarterback if his strong rookie play continues beyond this year.
What This Means for the Future
Facial injuries can obviously be scary but it doesn’t sound as though this will impact Marino too much. His surgery will keep him out for a brief period but he could return shortly after that. His helmet can be modified for extra face protection if he is worried about a stray puck. A similar injury struck Nikita Zadorov of the Colorado Avalanche. He suffered a broken jaw in early November but missed almost no time.
Pittsburgh is more than capable of surviving Marino’s injury. Letang remains a threat to score every night. Marcus Pettersson and Jack Johnson will help anchor the penalty kill on top of things as well. The only thing this could do is convince the Penguins they need another defender before the playoffs. The team has roughly $3.5 million in cap space according to CapFriendly.com if they want to make a trade for the final months of the regular season.